Marianne started to slash at Trevor Marksman, gouging into the flesh of his forearms arms where he put them up to protect himself. Laura’s eyes were wide and she was now screaming at her mother to stop.
‘Shit!’ cried Erika, ‘Where are my uniform officers?’
Erika and Moss dashed outside and pushed their way down the stairs. Seconds later, they were joined by six uniformed officers. They managed to grab Marianne Collins who was covered in blood, it was soaking into the front of her white blouse and daubed her left cheek.
A young male PC, wearing an anti-stab vest managed to get hold of Marianne’s arm and twisted it so she dropped the knife. He kicked it away where another officer trapped it under his shoe.
Marianne was now screaming, her throat sounded raw. She was knocked the ground and female PC placed her boot in her back and handcuffed her hands behind her back.
Erika ran to Trevor Marksman, who had fallen in between the bumper and front of two cars. He lay covered in blood which pumped out of the three gaping wounds in his forearms. She could see that one was slit right down to the bone. Erika sloughed off her thin suit jacket and started to wrap it around his bleeding arms.
‘We need an ambulance! This man is bleeding!’ she shouted above the mayhem, crowds were gathering on both sides of the pavement, people were streaming out from the train station on the opposite side of the road, and the traffic was backing up at the main junction.
Marianne Collins was dragged away screaming and covered in blood, just as an officer came running from the main entrance of the station with a first aid kit.
All the time the shutters from the press cameras fired off photographs and recorded video of the chaos.
The Assistant Commissioner, Camilla Brace-Cosworthy, turned from the large television on the wall in her office. It was early the next morning, and she had just played Erika and Marsh a two minute roundup of the previous days events from the SKY News app.
The incident outside Bromley South Station had been headline news the previous evening. It had also re-ignited interest for the press in the case. The two minute roundup was edited highlights, designed to show the maximum chaos, moving from the professional video when Trevor Marksman spoke outside Bromley station, to shaky mobile phone footage taken up-close of Marianne Collins wielding the knife, climaxing in her being handcuffed face down on the pavement and Trevor Marksman covered in blood.
Erika shifted uncomfortably where she stood in front of the desk, she looked across at Marsh, who sat to the left of Camilla’s desk.
‘What part of bringing this man in quietly for questioning did you ignore?’ asked Camilla peering up at Erika over the top of her glasses. She hadn’t invited Erika to sit, which was a bad sign. ‘That was Commander Marsh’s direct order when you spoke to him about making this arrest?’
‘Yes Ma’am. We couldn’t have anticipated this chain of events. We believe that Marianne Collins was tipped off, just as the press were tipped off.’
‘I suggest you spend your time finding the leak and then plug it with ruthless force.’
‘My officers are looking into this with urgency.’
‘Where does this leave our case?’
‘Trevor Marksman is in hospital, he lost a great deal of blood but will make a full recovery. Due to the nature of his previous skin injuries. He will have to spend longer in hospital.’
‘And the suspect you have in custody?’
‘I spent yesterday afternoon questioning Joel Michaels… I had arrested him on the basis that he hadn’t mentioned in his original statement that he was with Trevor Matthews when he followed Jessica Collins taking video and photos.’
‘And he informed us that he made two statements to DCI Amanda Baker, my predecess…’
‘I know who she is,’ interrupted Camilla.
‘Of course ma’am. We have his first statement on record, but we are missing documentation and evidence from the first investigation, so we are at a disadvantage. Either way, the fact he was working with Marksman, and they have a relationship is a lead. He maintains his innocence, saying that they used to go the park and take photos and video of children and their parents to help develop their skills in photography and film making. Which, coming from him as a convicted paedophile is a load of crap, I think.’
‘Right. And during the search of the cottage beside Hayes Quarry, you found a tooth, but it doesn’t doesn’t match Jessica Collins.’
‘And there was a search conducted of the septic tank?’
‘That too came back with no evidence. We are checking the soil samples recovered from the plastic Jessica was wrapped in when she was placed in the water, but we won’t have results for some days.’
‘The man who lived in the cottage, Bob Jennings, do you have any reason to believe he was involved with Trevor Marksman or Joel Michaels?’
‘So three weeks in to a very expensive investigation you have very little to show?’
Erika didn’t answer and struggled to keep eye contact and not to look down at the floor.
‘We were planning on doing a television appeal with the Collins family,’ said Marsh speaking for the first time. ‘But I don’t think this will be something we can pursue. Marianne Collins has been released on bail, the CPS is bound to go easy on her, but the image of her wielding a knife is looming large in people’s minds…’
‘Yes, we want grieving mother, not knife-wielding maniac,’ agreed Camilla. She took off her glasses and chewed on one of the stems for a moment. Erika could feel the sweat trickling down her back.
‘You’ve been here before, several times, haven’t you, DCI Foster?’ she said.
‘I’ve been here once before, Ma’am,’
‘I’m talking metaphorically,’ she snapped. ‘You seem to lurch between brilliance and bone-headed stupidity.’
‘In my defence, when Marianne Collins pulled out the knife, I had officers on the scene immediately…’
‘It happened on the steps of your police station, which is manned from anything between five and fifty uniformed officers each day, don’t give me bullshit,’ said Camilla, losing her cool. Erika opened her mouth, but didn’t know what to say. ‘On those same steps where Superintendent Yale launched his knife crime initiative and knife amnesty.’